Timeless beauty has wrinkles and walks – For good reasons

Otávia, 74, and Felicidade, 79, are two of the faces of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa project “Beauty has no age”, which included a series of photos of users next to famous figures exhibited in the last edition Lisbon Fashion.

What do Otávia Costa, 74, and Felicidade Gama, 79, have in common? Apart from being of the same generation, these two users of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML) share catwalks and fashion productions, parade alongside celebrities and are photographed for books and exhibitions, showing the world that beauty does not have to be true. age. Otávia and Felicidade are the faces of the project “Beleza Não Tem Antiga”, where SCML users of various ages were photographed as models, side by side with public figures from various social sectors. The 12 photographic productions were made in 2019, decorated various spots in Lisbon and were exhibited at this year’s edition of ModaLisboa, last weekend, from March 10 to 12, at the Lisboa Social Mitra space.

Accustomed to making and trying on her own clothes, whether she was a seamstress by trade or not, Felicidade Gama, now retired, tried to move to the other side of the curtain, becoming a role model for well-known dressmakers in the country. An “absolutely exceptional” experience that resulted in this Santa Casa initiative which, since 2015, has included a series of events (see box) aimed at promoting active living and combating ageism.

Next to Felicidade is former accountant Otávia Costa. The two met at the numerous activities held by SCML and became friends.

Otavia Costa poses next to the photo he took as part of the “Beleza Não Tem Antiga” project, at the opening of the exhibition

Gamma happiness at the opening of the “Beauty has no age” Exhibition, next to the photo in which he is the protagonist, next to Joao Rollo

“For me, beauty really has no age,” says Otávia Costa as her gaze sweeps the room full of people who attended the opening of this very special exhibition. “This kind of initiative is highly appreciated, gives us confidence and fills us with pride,” adds Felicidade Gama. For these two septuagenarians, the projects developed by Misericórdia de Lisboa to combat age-related stereotypes and discrimination are very important because, as Otávia explains, “they make us believe that, despite our age, we are still able to do all things.” .

For the former accountant, the project “Beauty has no age” gave her the opportunity to model and participate in fashion shows and photo shoots. Deep down, it made her feel like “a true princess.” Not to mention the pride that children, and especially grandchildren, feel when they see their grandmother “dressed up,” she jokes. More seriously, Otávia explains that this initiative convinced her that “there are no ugly women, it all depends on the way we present ourselves and anyone who had seen me before, without arranging, would not say that I was the same person” . It gave her self-esteem: “When it comes to beauty, I don’t compare myself to a young lady, but compared to people my age, I think I look great.”

Felicidade Gama, on the other hand, confesses that when she sees herself depicted in the photographs, she feels “an immense joy”. “I wonder, at my age, how is it possible that you still look so good?” The now-retired seamstress recalls that, on the day of the photographic production, she felt “very happy and grateful”, not only for the final result, but also for the opportunity to experience “a special and different day”, where she was. combed, made up and wearing clothes not made by her, but by well-known dressmakers. “A beauty!”, he concludes.

“Anti-aging is the goal”

In the fifth edition of the “Beleza Não Tem Antiga” project, the director of the socio-educational unit of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa makes a positive assessment. Luna Marques also explains that the connection with ModaLisboa was made at the invitation of this entity. This time, they chose an exhibition. Last October they did a fashion show. Initiatives that contributed to a new social mindset.

Luna Marquesdirector of the social-educational unit of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, at the opening of the Exhibition “Beauty is not ageless”

What does the project “Beauty Ageless” include and what is its goal?

The project is part of a series of efforts carried out by Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, to combat the stereotypes and discrimination that prevail in our society in relation to the elderly. Ageism, a term that defines these negative views about age, constantly appears in many and multiple contexts. Beauty has no age, therefore its main goal is to fight aging.

What initiatives have already been developed under the project?

The project was born in 2015 and already has five editions, all in different formats. We started with a photo production that culminated in a book, two fashion, music and multimedia shows, a photo production that led to the placement of the photos in several MUPIs in the city, a fashion show at ModaLisboa and, now, still at ModaLisboa, a photo exhibition resulting from a fashion production. All these schemes had as protagonists different people with different ages and different roles in society. The connection to ModaLisboa was made at the invitation of this entity. This time we chose an exhibition because last October we had a fashion show.

How were the seniors selected for the exhibition?

The people who make up the project are always chosen by the social equipment of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa that they attend.

What are the activities promoted by SCML’s socio-educational animation unit with elderly residents in nursing homes?

The Socio-Educational Animation Unit is responsible for all socio-cultural animation at Santa Casa. It is a service whose mission is to contribute to the fight against social prejudices in relation to the elderly.

A vibrant space of inclusion

The Socio-Educational Animation Unit/Espaço Santa Casa located in Campo de Santa Clara, Lisbon, is a place where inclusion and well-being are promoted.

An intergenerational academy, exhibitions, concerts and other projects based on user collaboration, such as the Marcha da Santa Casa, are some of the activities in this space open to all ages.

A successful collaboration with ModaLisboa

The project was born in 2015, the year in which 60 SCML users of various ages were photographed next to public figures.

In 2016, the book “Beleza não tem age”, a collection of photographs, was released.

In 2017, the first Gala “Beauty has no age, in the city” was held, an event that brought together many personalities, who marched together with SCML users, symbolizing a more inclusive society, without room for age discrimination. The Beauty Ageless, In The City Gala was held again in 2018 and 2019, with over 300 SCML users in attendance, seeking to give everyone a chance to participate.

In October 2022, the project debuted the collaboration with ModaLisboa and several SCML users walked in Lisbon Fashion Week, which, for the second time, occupies the stands of Lisboa Social Mitra, a Santa Casa property. This year’s ModaLisboa was the stage for a photography exhibition by Carlos Rodrigues, which brings together Maria Botelho Moniz, Cláudio Ramos, Ana Marques, Jorge Gabriel, Biba Pitta and her daughter Madalena, Alexandra Lencastre, Ricardo Carriço, Isabel Figueira, Fátima Lopes , Rôlo, Pedro Crispim and Edmundo Martinho (SCML Mediator) to many users. An artistic bridge to break age prejudices.

Opening of the “Beleza não tem Antiga” Exhibition at Lisboa Social Mitra, during the 60th edition of ModaLisboa

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